Thursday, 21 November 2013

Mother's Italian Job

Just before the Christmas rush starts to bite, I squeezed in a quick trip to Italy just in time for the olive harvest. We spent three days up, under and amongst the trees and gathered 164kg. Evenings, we took hours to carefully remove leaves, twigs and beetles. Then we took our bounty to the Oleificio Rosini  olive press, where they have a special vibro-thingy machine which shook out all the dross for us after all, (ah industialisation how I love you...) and a slow grinding press that made us some oil that was vivid, grassy, delicious.

In between low key labouring (chatting) in the olive grove I sampled a fantastic liqueur, purely as part of Mother's ongoing commitment to her international alcohol cataloging project. It's research. Visciola, ruby jewel in the crown of Le Marche  made from small sour wild cherries, wine and sugar. Bloomin' luverly.

If you are lucky enough to be able to get hold of these cherries and have about 2 months of sunshine on your hands, here you go...

Take equal weights of visciolo cherries and white sugar, place in a jar in the sunshine and leave for a couple of  months. This will ferment, so allow for the escape of gas, otherwise the lid is likely to blow off.  You could try one of those winemaking bungs. After a couple of months drain off the liquid and filter it through some fine muslin to clear it of sediment. Add equal parts white wine and bottle. Leave it another few weeks to a month in a cool dark spot just to settle in nicely and Bob's. 


Continuing in the Italian vein, back in London I have been bottling and labelling the Christmas pudding spiced rum in readiness for the Eat or Heat benefit from an original recipe courtesy of Nat di Maggio's Italian dad.

The rum will be available by donation only at the piano recital at St Mary's Church in Walthamstow. The dried fruit that had been flavouring the rum has been now been used by the Aura Rosa bakers to make some drunken Christmas cakes. The cakes will be attending the recital to hear a little classical music and then be sold for charity.

Finally in celebration of the mighty olive;

The classic Martini
(courtesy of Kindred Cocktails)
2 1/2oz gin
1/2oz dery vermouth
1drop orange bitters
olive to garish
Stir, strain, up, cocktail glass, garnish with a twist or olive
Ratios of Gin to vermouth vary widely. Many enthusiasts prefer much more than the capful or whisper sometimes used. The inclusion of orange bitters is a relatively recent revival of an original ingredient. Use only good, fresh vermouth.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

King of the Orchard

There's a fine young tup in the orchard, bold and bright eyed. His flock is only small so he's casting about for new ladies and dreaming of all his young lambs to come in the spring time.

And yet, there is the winter to be got through first and the weather is drawing in.

 Between putting the orchard to bed and avoiding Zach's amorous advances we walked over Whitbarrow scar getting caught in a wild stinging hail storm.

Back indoors there is lots of bottling, labeling and preparation for the coming two weeks when there are two local events coming up.

The first is the E17 Designers' Christmas Fair on 29th Nov at 7-10pm. Mother will be hawking her fine liqueurs and dispensing gin related wisdom along side fellow designers and makers.

The E17Designers Christmas Market is in Time Out's top 10 fairs. So do come by and see what the hype is about, and get some of your present buying done and dusted before the pressure ratchets up to an unbearable levels. Have some cake, a beer or two from the boys at Wild Card. See, there, Christmas shopping isn't so bad after all.

The following day it's Eat or Heat's  Christmas Fair and in the evening a piano recital, with proceeds going to local food bank charity Eat or Heat. Mother will be there in the evening launching some specially commissioned Christmas pudding spiced rum, with her dear friends from Aura Rosa cake makers extraordinaire, and partners in crime for local Movember moustache growing competition.

Dream on Gio, mine is definitely bigger than yours!
And for Moustachioed gunslingers and lovers of spiced rum everywhere here is;

The Derringer (by Laura Cloer )
1 12ozKraken Spiced Rum
4dsorange bitters
1bspGinger juice
1ozlime juice
1ozagave syrup
1splginger ale
Shake & strain into a Collins glass over ice. Top with ginger ale. Garnish with lime wheel.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Stormy Weather

It's been a windswept week here at Mother's Ruin with gale force winds and driving rain. Mother's Ruin HQ has remained resolute and upright  throughout the tempest.

There was lots of local storm damage though, the worst being that the 200 year old mulberry tree that provided the fruit for this year's mulberry gin was hit by a falling bay tree and lost about half of her crown.

Tree surgeons have been summoned to the scene, and hopefully the old girl will make a recovery. Though Mulberry gin may be in limited supply next year.

Indoors the bottling of the Seville orange rum has begun. The colour of warm slightly cloudy honey with the dark and bitter sweet taste of marmalade. I'd made it as an attempt to create a Cointreau type liqueur, but it is it's own tawny miracle.

Seville oranges tart, deeply aromatic and in season at the darkest and coldest part of the year. Just when thoughts of Southern Spain and its golden heart might be the only thing to pull you through the dreich  grey British winter to spring time. And here packed with vitamin C to ward off seasonal ills, I bring you...

Mother's Cuban Hurricane

Ingredients: (per person)
  • 2oz Seville orange rum                          
  • 2 oz dark Cuban rum
  • 2 oz passion fruit juice
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • Juice of a half a lime
  • 1 Tbsp grenadine
  • dash or two of orange bitters
  • orange zest to garnish

  • Squeeze juice from half a lime into a cocktail shaker over some ice.
  • Pour the remaining ingredients into the cocktail shaker.
  • Shake well.
  • Strain into a long glass
  • Garnish with a curl of orange zest.